Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sunday Evening...

It's been a very long and not very good week, so I've been quiet. At least on my blog. I've been escaping by reading everyone else's blogs and enjoy them all so much. JoAnne, thanks for sharing the pictures of your cabin. It's gorgeous! Bonnie, I'm glad to hear you will be done school soon and I LOVE your random stars quilt! I can't wait to see the next one you will be making!

I thought I'd share pictures of my little sewing room where I do my piecing, etc. The longarm is set up in my living room and my little sewing room is upstairs where I can hide away.

Here is my sewing table and my pathetic little stash. Surprisingly, I usually manage to find what I need there. There are also some larger pieces of fabric in my grandmother's desk which is in the photo, one drawer full. Then there is an entire drawer full of t-shirts which I hope to make into quilts some day! The next picture is my design wall. It is a really cheap and kind of sticky blanket that I got at WalMart years ago for $4. The quilt on the wall is one that I had started several years ago and with the inspiration from your blogs, finally finished, except for the borders. They'll be my next project! I put the borders on a batik star quilt yesterday and will get pictures of that up soon.
This last picture is of one of our dogs, Samuel Adams, affectionately known as Sam. Except for last night when he barked from 4:15am until 8am. I won't tell you what his name was then, but I'm sure you can imagine! We adopted him from a local shelter over the summer and he's been a delight somedays and a pain on others. He doesn't remember what housebreaking is from one day to the next and he's a little crazy man at times. But then, he never leaves my side and is always at my feet when I sew, so it's nice to have him around. Now...why was it not such a good week? As I've mentioned, our house is on the market. Yes, I hope to give up my cute little sewing room! We got an offer last Saturday, the buyers were very excited. We agreed on a price, set a date for settlement and drew up contracts. When it came time for them to sign on the dotted line, they didn't do it. They need to think about it for awhile. Apparently, 6 days later, they're still thinking. Everything is up in the air and it's driving me crazy. Today we had another open house and now there is another family interested in the house, but they will need to sell their house, etc., which the first buyers didn't. That's if the new people even make an offer. I'm just getting very frustrated with this whole process...I think selling a house is one of the least pleasant things in the world to have to do. Think I'll go load a quilt and get my mind off of it! :o)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Grace's quilt

Ever since I started this blog, Grace, my 11 year old daughter has been asking, "When are you going to put MY quilt on your blog?" So here it is. Grace started this quilt when she was 9. It took her a very long time to piece it. Once all the blocks were made, it "fermented" for quite awhile so that all the fabrics could blend properly. Then Grace sewed the blocks into rows and I sewed the rows into a quilt top and added the borders. We loaded it onto my longarm and Grace took it from there. She did a very nice job quilting it and as soon as it was done, we took it off the machine, put on the binding and she's been sleeping with it ever since. It was finished last February, right around the time that my new kitchen was finished, so we had to get both into the picture. So Grace...congratulations on making a beautiful quilt...I'm sure you'll enjoy it for many years to come. I loved working with you to make it and that will always be a memory I cherish. Thanks for being a quilter. I love you.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Another day, another quilt done...

Sometimes a quilt can be on my machine for weeks, other times they can take hours. This quilt is another customer's handiwork. I've always loved Snail's Trails quilts and this one was particularly striking. The contrast was beautiful and the piecing was precise. Another wonderful quilt to work on.

Today I saw that Karen McTavish was going to be on Simply Quilts and even though I've seen this episode before, I had to watch. She is truly an artist. The thing that really struck me was that she said it takes her about 10 days to do a wholecloth from conception to completion. TEN DAYS!!! It would take me years! I'm trying to design a panto to use on a customer's quilt and it's taking me forever. Maybe someday....but for now I'm very happy doing what I do!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Some are easier than others

I love quilting for customers. It allows me to stretch my imagination, play with fabric and thread and actually see almost finished quilts...a stage my quiltmaking rarely takes me to. Sometimes, for various reasons I run late with customer quilts, but for the most part, everyone is wonderful about it. The customers who created the quilts below are no exception...I'm truly blessed to have the customers I do!

For the past 2 weeks I've been working on this quilt. It's a paper pieced New York Beauty. It is the most elaborately pieced quilt I've ever seen. Every block was different and it had some of the tiniest points I've ever seen. Since I rarely do pantographs (the laser gives me migraines) I do mostly custom quilting. This quilt just screamed for it! So I quilted...for hours and hours and hours. Then I quilted some more. I finally finished it last night. It's incredible. When the customer picked it up today, she said she was going to display it with the back up, so everyone could see the quilting. I was touched. I thought the back was amazing too! :o) So here are a few pictures...

Then there are other quilts which are just as beautiful and only need a simple treatment because the quilt design is so strong. Such is the next quilt I did. I meandered it all over and the design stands out...not the quilting. Here is a picture of that one...

Like I said, I feel blessed to have such talented customers who make my work such a pleasure. And I only have 8 more quilts before I'm done for Christmas...and 3 on the waiting list IF I get done in time! We're still waiting to see what happens to our house, so I don't want to book too much in advance, just in case we're moving. I have to admit, it's been about 8 weeks and we're getting seems the housing market in our area is slowing down. Now we're worried the house won't sell, so we dropped the price a bit and we'll see if that generates any interest. And that's it for now...think it's time to hit the hay!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Quilt Pictures

This is the best of show quilt. It's called "Mitosis" and you probably can't see it but there is an X and a Y in the black circles in the corners. The lady who made this was VERY creative! I used my Circle Lord to make designs in most of the circles, using a bright variegated thread. There are also "rainbows" in the black background connecting the outside circles. The background was stippled in black.
Next is the Best of Show ribbon, then the Best Bed Quilt ribbon. Sure wish I could get the pictures to go where I want them...Blogger is being very touchy for me this morning!

Bad Days, Good Days

We've had some bad days here in my part of New Jersey. As many of you have seen, there's been rain. A lot of it. Actually, way too much of it! Fortunately, we were spared and other than some minor flooding in our front yard, we were good. Friends of ours weren't so lucky. They were off having a good time and my daughter and I were cat sitting for them. Thank heavens they have cats! I went into their house on Friday morning to feed the critters and stepped into about 2 inches of water. It covered their entire downstairs. I made a few phone calls, rounded up some friends to help and within about 4 hours we had most of the water pumped out of the house. But it was too late to save carpeting, Pergo floors and quite a few of their belongings. I can't imagine how much water would have been in there if they hadn't needed us to come over and take care of the animals.

Saturday turned out to be one of the GOOD days! The skies cleared, it was breezy and cool and there was a quilt show! My guild, the Berry Basket Quilters of Medford, NJ, had their bi-annual show. Every time they have it I think I'm going to actually finish something to enter, but haven't yet! Fortunately, a few of my customers do enter. Including this one...who won Best of Show! I've never quilted a Best of Show quilt so I'm VERY excited. This is the quilt, hanging in the show. It was called "Mitosis". One thing that upset me at the show was that NONE of the machine quilters were credited for their work. It was an oversight, as one of the husbands volunteered to type up the tags that hung on the quilts and he didn't include that information. They did ask for that information on the entry forms. I spoke to a few people and by the time I left, my business cards were on the quilts I had quilted and they were laying on a table in the entry for people to pick up. I guess it's true, the squeaky wheel gets oiled! I'll post pictures of the quilt once Blogger lets me do it...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Antique quilts and souvenirs

Yesterday I finished the binding on this beautiful quilt. A woman contacted me back in July and asked me about finishing a quilt that either her mother or grandmother had made many years ago. It was mostly pieced by hand and looks to be from the forties. The workmanship on it was beautiful and even after so many years (and bias edges!) the quilt lay almost perfectly flat. I provided backing, batting and binding and finished this family heirloom for her. I used my "King Clam" template for my Circle Lord and did clamshells over the whole top. It is such a beautiful quilt...I hope she loves it like I do!

And Finn...since you asked so nicely, here is a picture of the souvenir I came home with. I got 2 yards of this pretty little print. I have no idea what I'll do with it, but it was just too pretty to pass up. I'll just add it to the stash until it tells me what project it wants to go in!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


My husband and I snuck away this weekend, without kids, and headed up to Newport, RI. It was the most relaxing weekend I've had in years! You see, we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in July. In conversation, we realized the only trip we'd had alone, since the kids were born (yes, my oldest is almost 18!) was a business trip to Toronto, where I picked up a case of strep so bad it took 3 months to get rid of it...and it totally ruined the weekend. It was time to get away...

On Friday morning, we got the girls off to school, then were off to the airport to fly to Providence. We picked up our rental car and drove to Newport. There is nothing like the smell of the ocean, bright blue skies and no one making demands on you for relaxation! We wandered around town (stopping frequently at Starbucks, of course!), drove along Bellevue Drive to see the mansions (even toured one of them), drove along Ocean Drive to see, well, the ocean, took a winery tour and tasting (THAT was nice!), shopped, visited a Harvest Fair at the Norman Bird Sanctuary and even found a little quilt shop to visit where I had to leave with a souvenier! We hated to come home and back to I'm just going to keep looking at the pictures of the adirondack chairs above and pretend I'm sitting in one!

On Sunday, before we headed back to reality, we had lunch at a wonderful restaurant and had a seat right next to the railing of their porch. We sat and ate our lobster salads while looking over the harbor, watching the sailboats come and go. This picture was my last view of the harbor before we left. I hope that it's not another 20 years before we can sneak away again! Yesterday was spent cleaning up the mess of the weekend, vacuuming, doing laundry and putting binding on a customer quilt. Today I'll be back at my long arm...which is where I should be now!